Nina Kozłowska
Nina Kozłowska 10 December 2019

Christmas Contests on Social Media: How to Create A Holiday Competition

‘Tis the season to be jolly!’ Christmas-themed posts will soon have a forest-fire effect on social media communication of many brands. Some of them have already started their activities (probably encouraged by shops who introduce Christmas collections… in September), others will start after Black Friday. No matter when your brand is kicking Christmassy posts off, you should prepare a set of tactics and ideas to implement and take your competitors over!

Why Christmas is crucial to social media?

Sometimes numbers speak for themselves. According to Wordstream statistics:

  • 76% of mobile shoppers change their mind about which retailer/brand to buy from after searching online.
  • 8 in 10 holiday shoppers are influenced by the Internet before making a purchase.
  • 68% of shoppers visit YouTube on their smartphones to determine what to buy.
  • One-third of shoppers report holiday weekend purchases were driven by promotions.

Do we need to say more? It is nothing but a huge shopping spree before Christmas and brands face a real challenge, but also an opportunity to sell as many products and services as never before, and get a lot of loyal customers on board. 

For marketers, the few weeks before Christmas is the real test of their skills and tactics. Many brands try to pique the interest of their potential clients using Christmas creatives, and Christmas shopping behaviour continues to grow year after year. There is potential not to be missed or neglected, and starting your Christmas activities too late can mean that you’ve lost the game already.

Your brand can either win new clients with spot-on tactics that your competitors did not come up with an idea of or follow your market rivals to no avail. One of the ways of gaining engagement, reach and interest is to create Christmas contest and this is what we will be all about today. What should you know about Christmas contests and what can inspire you to create one? Keep reading to find out!

Christmas contests on social media — first steps

First of all, identify your business goals. What do you want to achieve with your Christmas contest? Do you want to grow engagement rates, or rather focus on driving more traffic? Would you like to get a lot of comments and new followers, or you want to see it reflecting clear in sales? You need to recognise what you want to get out of your contest. 

Then, you need to check what your competitors were — or are — doing, in terms of managing Christmas contests or any competitions at all. Was there any particular contest that grabbed a lot of attention? Or maybe some of them failed the exam totally? You should research it before you decide on creating a contest. Having a copy-paste competition may do you more harm than good, since your target audience may not recognise it as your contest. 

Once you have it researched, you are… still not good to go. You should think about what mechanism, rules and prizes to apply. The rules should be clear and simple, unless you are preparing a kind of contest that requires e.g. bills for specific products as an entry to the contest. Also, you need to check if they are compliant with the law of the country you want to lead the competition in. You should always tell your audience that your contest has nothing to do with Facebook terms and conditions and is not dependant on Facebook or other social media, either. Do you want your competition to resemble a raffle? Check out whether you should apply for approval to your local authorities. In many countries, it is a legal requirement and the lack of accomplishing it can lead to serious problems and a really high fine. We guess you wouldn’t like to pay extra, would you?

What else? You need to promote your contest. Of course, you can use paid advertising, but if you are on a limited budget, it doesn’t mean that you can’t run a contest. Turn on your creativity and find out where else you can promote your competition. To focus on promoting when the contest is on, you should plan posts in advance, using — for example — a reliable social media management tool. 

Some ideas for promoting your social media contest without paid advertising:

  • Sharing it on your social media profiles
  • Sending it to your friends from the industry who would be interested in participating and sharing a word or two further
  • Redistributing it using contest sites
  • Posting it on Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

Social media competition — types:

Social media post

The most basic way to organize a competition on social media. You simply publish a post (it can be a photo or a video) and ask for contest submission in the form of comments below the original post. Then, you can choose the most creative one and grant it a prize.

What are the exemplary questions?

  • What is the recipe for the nicest Christmas cake?
  • What is the secret of perfect Christmas?
  • Which watch would you like to get for Christmas and why?
  • List three things you would like to receive for Christmas…
  • What is your strongest New Year’s resolution?

Remember that terms & conditions are really crucial here and you can’t just choose the winner randomly. What really matters is describing how you are going to select the winning entry. The most common criteria is creativity, but you can as well require other things. 

You can also prepare a collaboration proposal for other Pages that could be associated with yours (for example, you work in the same industry or you are based in the same district, if you want to prepare a local competition). There are quite a few advantages of doing it this way. First of all, you increase the overall reach of the competition. Secondly, you are likely to get new followers who are already following the participating parties. The third reason is that you can turn a small collaboration into a powerful business partnership and an opportunity to work together in the future. Sounds great? That’s what we thought.

Messenger Chatbot

This form of the contest can be very engaging for your followers because it is based on a conversation and it is private so that consumers can be more willing to participate as they do not have to publish any content publicly. Moreover, by interacting with Messenger users, you can message them later — that is how you can build your base for newsletter distributed via Facebook Messenger instead of email. 

Even though it seems complicated, with the right chatbot platform, you can configure your contest bot in minutes. For example, Chatbotize provides a ready-to-use plugin, so that all you need to do is to come up with a great idea for your contest and fill in the template with your text. 

Exemplary contest ideas:

  • send a picture of your Christmas decorations
  • answer the question of the day
  • describe your best Christmas memory

Pro Tip: use the Promo Codes plugin to reward all participants with a discount for your products. 

Instagram or Facebook Stories

This format is about quick wins — since the content disappears after 24 hours, brands face the challenge of keeping the engagement on the highest possible level during the whole duration of the contest. The contest can be either only announced through Stories (and therefore, become one of the promotional channel for your contest) or be held on Stories. Brands can use separate Stories for announcing the consecutive stages or make a bigger relation and save it to the Highlights on their profile afterwards.

Pros? It seems to be a bit easier than handling communication in the Facebook comments.

Cons? The dynamics of your competition can be a killer. Why wouldn’t you give it a go this Christmas? Ask your audience about inventing a new name for your product you are going to launch next year. Leave a “blank” field in your stories and ask your followers for screenshotting it and sending it back with their ideas. 

Influencer marketing

Social media influencers can definitely help you spread the word or two about an upcoming competition, but they can be a blessing or a curse if you do not verify them before the contest. You need to evaluate whether a particular influencer will add any value to your contest, or would they rather get paid and forget about your brand?

What should you take into consideration when choosing the right influencer for your Christmas contest?

  • The number of followers is a vanity metrics. Look at engagement rates!
  • Commercial exploit — how many campaigns have they already handled and were they any good?
  • Communication with a particular influencer — are they creative, or they very down to Earth and not too pleasant to work with?
  • The aesthetic and tone of voice of the whole profile
  • The brands that collaborated with that particular influencer
  • Social media reach (whether they are going to make the most of their reach on social media, or they want to be limited to one, small post only?)
  • Out-of-social-media activities (having a blog or website, being active on events or conferences)

How can any Christmas contest with influencers work well? What type of contest should you create? You can either use their reach to promote your social media posts, or let them reveal their creativity and post on their social media accounts, using Facebook, Instagram, or even… TikTok. 

You need to identify whether you want to find an influencer for just one contest or actually build a relation and make them ambassadors of your brand. The latter will cost you more, but will pay off if you’ve chosen the right and dedicated influencer. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is not dead! It can wonderfully support your social media activities if you share some info about the Christmas content you’ve created across platforms, blogs and other media. Not only do you secure a higher reach and getting to even more potential followers and participants, but — more importantly — you positively impact on SEO positioning and potential backlinks, and increase brand awareness for longer. 

How can you prepare a contest using blog posts or press releases? You can either encourage bloggers to ask the potential participants for their answers in the comments section or in private messages, or redirect people to your social media or landing pages. Speaking of landing pages...

Landing Pages

No matter if you use it as your main channel of contest communication, or rather as a support platform, landing pages are still one of the most popular ways to get people informed about the contest. Not only can you keep here all of the rules and conditions, but also announce the winners or publish the entries that got the highest prize. Landing pages can be great for generating some leads out of a contest or as a part of it. With modern drag and drop editors, it is fairly simple to prepare a dreamy landing page.


You can go the old way and create a contest in your newsletter, however, well-targeted and structured mailing can bring more results when it redirects, for example, to your social media channels and encourage your audience to take part in a great contest that you prepared. In the meantime, you can sparkle your e-mail marketing with unique Christmas offers that no one gives, and no one will. Before you start promoting — no matter if it is a contest or just a batch of offers - remember to refresh your database in order to avoid really low open rates if you send it to the database that is not verified. 

What to remember about when making a contest? Good practices

  • Even if you are not a big brand yourself, you don’t have to only dream big or be limited! You may think that preparing the campaign like Monty The Penguin is not possible with your budget, but no one tells you not to get inspired by it and customize it to your abilities. The only thing that limits you is your creativity and willingness to take action. Take a look what big fish is doing and follow their steps, take advantage of your conclusions and adapt these activities to your target group and product or services. 

  • Make sure that the rules of your contest are clear and transparent, and completely readable for your audience. Otherwise, you may face a very small number of entries or a total lack of them. The rules need to be simple and encourage people to take part in the competition. 

  • It is not enough to just create a contest — you need to promote it and plan the strategy of advertising in advance. What channels are you going to use, how often are you going to post and who can support your promotional efforts? It is really crucial to plan it in the right way not to be left with a fully functional but unpopular competition, especially if you put quite a few dimes into the jukebox for making it great and running. 

  • Don’t do it too late! If you run the competition on the 18th of December, you still may get a lot of entries, but what about actual rewards? Would your customers get prizes in time before Christmas? We all know the sending haul just a few days before the Christmas Day. Don’t rely on promises by couriers, allow yourself for some extra time for packing and sending packages to those who won them and are waiting for them before Christmas. If you fail here, you may leave a really bad impression despite rewarding participants. Take it really seriously, as you may not be able to win 100% of their trust and loyalty back. 

  • Your selection of rewards needs to suit your target groups’ needs. If you offer a gift card to a shop that is present in only two cities in your country (and does not run an online shop, so you can’t buy these products on the internet), it may seem uninteresting for many followers unless you have a local page and only locals in your following base. Who would like to win something they couldn’t really use (and therefore be associated with your brand)? Take it into consideration when selecting the set of prizes for the participants. 

  • If it is a Christmas contest, make it really special and Christmassy. Don’t create rules that you could apply to any other contest and any other profile. Make it customised to the platform, relevant to your industry and referring to the magical atmosphere of upcoming Christmas. 

  • Check your competitors. Or even double-check them. There is nothing worse than working on a very similar contest to your competitors’ one. It is fairly simple to create a competition on almost identical rules, so remember to keep your contest simple, but attractive, original, appealing and one of a kind. At the end of the day, you want your audience to connect this contest with your brand, not your market rivals. Without proper research and checking your competitors' footprints and steps on social media, and in general in the online world, you can only guess what kind of activities they are into or planning to be. 

To wrap it up

Creating a well functioning Christmas contest takes a little bit more than just having an amazing idea that you want to execute right here and right now. It does not necessarily work like this. You need to plan it from the very beginning and set up a clear set of rules for the participants to follow. Otherwise, you may be facing a social media crisis or just a total failure in terms of your contest KPIs.

Also, you need to keep an eye on your competitors and be sure that your planned the whole promotion process well. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend a lot of money on advertising (however, to stand out from the competition it is better to do so — we bet that many of your rivals will do so), but you’ll definitely spend some time and effort on it.

Don't resign from contest even if you feel that you have no time for it. We all know that the period between Black Friday and Christmas is really busy, and that your customer service team can really struggle with a lot of requests received from your potential customers and even the random users visiting your website or social media profiles. We all know the pain. This may be the high time for you to implement something new to automate some of your tasks. One of them can be Chatbotize which is a fully functional conversational marketing platform that you can use for both the customer service efforts and the Christmas contest.

If you want to kill two birds with one stone and take care of your customer support before Christmas, and actually win the clients' hearts with a very original contest conducted via chatbot... What are you waiting for?

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